By Parth Upadhyaya
UNC jazz students will perform this weekend for the first time in the 2017-18 year alongside guest artist Andre Hayward. Hayward is an internationally-renowned trombonist and the Jamey Aebersold Visiting Jazz Artist.
The UNC Jazz Combos will kick off the weekend’s events with a concert, accompanied by Hayward, in the Fred and Gail Fearing Jazz for a Friday Afternoon series on Friday at 4:00 p.m. in the James and Susan Moeser Auditorium. Admission is free to the public.
Later, on Friday night at 8:00 p.m., a UNC Faculty Jazz Quintet will share the stage with Hayward at the Sharp 9 Gallery in Durham. Admission is charged at the door.
On Saturday, Hayward will conduct a masterclass with jazz students at 4:00 p.m., also in Moeser Auditorium. This masterclass is open and free to the public.
Lastly, on Saturday night at 8:00 p.m., the UNC Jazz Band will perform with Hayward in Moeser Auditorium. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 students or UNC faculty/staff, and can be purchased at the door.
Jim Ketch, the Director of Jazz Studies at UNC, heard Hayward in concert several years ago and was left with a strong impression.
“He was an impressive player when I heard him and I liked his teaching,” Ketch said. “Those two things sort of clicked in my mind, like ‘Hey, that would be a good person to expose my students to.'”
Among other accolades, Hayward won the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Trombone Competition in 2003. Winning the competition catapulted Hayward’s career and opened new doors.
“[Winning the Thelonious Monk Competition] was one of those things that probably punched his ticket a few more times because it really put him on the map,” Ketch said. “He has a mature voice as a player and the Monk competition tends to reward people who straddle tradition and innovation.”
Beyond Hayward’s skills as a musician, Ketch felt Hayward’s amiable personality would mesh well with his students.
“I watched the way [Hayward] interacted with people,” Ketch said. “He seemed to be a very friendly type of person — very approachable. He seems like a very positive, affirmative type of person. All these boxes got checked off in my mind and I thought, ‘This is going to be a real positive for my kids.'”
Ketch hopes that the experience of performing with and learning under Hayward will motivate his students to dive deeper into the world of jazz.
“I want my students to see a professional musician and hopefully deduce from that, ‘How did he get to that point? How has he tried to sculpt his life in such a way that these opportunities are now available to him?'” Ketch said. “You just hope they get inspired. I don’t know how that inspiration necessarily plays out.
“For some students, it might be that they start practicing more. They start practicing harder, with more discipline, with more focus. For others, it just may make them want to listen to more jazz.”